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Old 05-05-2008, 01:37 PM   #41
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Using the right wording and tone, this doesn't have to imply that lake houses are a less worthy goal, simply that you've chosen different goals than his parents have. He can make the leap to realizing that toys and lake houses aren't as attractive as the other goals himself.
This is more-or-less what I do. I try to make him understand that there are choices other than spending.
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Old 05-05-2008, 01:55 PM   #42
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I think you probably did. There's no obvious reason for sharing such details with "a young teenager".
One thing we have been guilty of is treating our child more like an adult than would typically be considered normal by giving him opportunities and information earlier than most parents. We realize this can backfire and is not without hazard, but so far it seems to be working well, and he is remarkably mature for his age and has made only good choices to our knowledge.

The reason for given financial information was that he asked about it, and we felt he was old enough to understand why this type of information is generally kept confidential. If we did not tell him, we felt it would send the message that 1) we did not trust him (which would be the correct message to receive) and 2) our spending was driven by lack of "wealth" and not by choice. This also opened up the opportunity to talk about investing, spending, building dynastic wealth and capitalism. By the comments he makes, I think he has kept things confidential. My wife and I decided that if he told anyone this information, they would just believe it was typical teen exaggeration so we had nothing to loose.

I guess the real question would be, at what point is it appropriate to tell kids 1) how much you earn and 2) your net worth? A know a lot of people thing the answer is never.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:00 PM   #43
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Seems like there must be a way to talk about some of the general principles with your son's friend without sharing any specific numbers or disparaging his family.

"It's too bad you guys can't afford a lake house. It would be really fun to be able to have you next door during the summer."

"We would have plenty of money to buy a lake house if we wanted to. But I want to quit working in a couple of years, and that takes a lot more money than buying a lake house."

or

"Lake houses just aren't very important to us. We'd rather spend our money on traveling around the world/having a longer retirement/a down payment on Jimmy Jr.'s first house."

You can emphasizing saving towards a goal; don't have to tell him that you've already achieved that goal if you don't want to.

Using the right wording and tone, this doesn't have to imply that lake houses are a less worthy goal, simply that you've chosen different goals than his parents have. He can make the leap to realizing that toys and lake houses aren't as attractive as the other goals himself.

And if he really is like an adopted son to you, you might consider sharing more with him than you would with most friends/acquaintances.
A reasonable idea, but I wouldn't get into specifics. Something more along the lines of "We have decided to invest our money in something other than a lake house."

It opens the door to the word "invest", and talks about choices (make sure you present it as a personal choice, and in now way degrade his parents' choices). If the kid takes the bait, it can lead to an informative conversation, though I wouldn't push it too far. I also wouldn't get into more details about myself, but maybe you can relate it to him. "Let's say you have xx dollars and want <whatever> but long term you really want <maybe something bigger and more practical>. You could buy <whatever> now, but maybe what you really want to do is save up for <that other thing>, which you might never be able to get if you buy things like <whatever> all the time."

If he doesn't ask anything, don't offer. At least he has an answer, and maybe someday it will hit him.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:02 PM   #44
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This is more-or-less what I do. I try to make him understand that there are choices other than spending.
I missed that response. I don't know if there's much more you really can and should do.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:13 PM   #45
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The reason for given financial information was that he asked about it, and we felt he was old enough to understand why this type of information is generally kept confidential.... This also opened up the opportunity to talk about investing, spending, building dynastic wealth and capitalism. By the comments he makes, I think he has kept things confidential. My wife and I decided that if he told anyone this information, they would just believe it was typical teen exaggeration, so we had nothing to lose.
Fair enough!
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:25 PM   #46
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I guess the real question would be, at what point is it appropriate to tell kids 1) how much you earn and 2) your net worth? A know a lot of people thing the answer is never.
I am 34 and I still have no idea what my dad makes. As far as his net worth goes I have an idea of the value of his real estate assets (RE is hard to hide and pretty easy to value), but when it comes to liquid investments until recently I had no idea. While visiting my parents last Xmas however, I used my dad's computer to check my email and he had left Quicken open on the desktop so I kinda know but I am not supposed to and I still pretend like I don't know a thing. So for my dad it looks like my sister and I are still not to be trusted with such private information!
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:37 PM   #47
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I guess the real question would be, at what point is it appropriate to tell kids 1) how much you earn and 2) your net worth? A know a lot of people thing the answer is never.

----

When I was a teenager, this is what I knew about my parents' finances - they were saving for early retirement; the house was paid off; cars were paid for in cash; credit cards were basically evil and you shouldn't ever charge more than you could pay off. My dad told me what he made in a conversation we had when I first started working after college and he was making sure I was contributing the max to my 401(k) account right away. This was after he retired. At 39, I still don't know their net worth, but I have an idea based on conversations we have had over the years: I know they won't run out of money, but they are not "rich", and I know that they have more money now than when they retired. They won't need to look to us "kids" for help, and that's all I really need to know about.
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:26 AM   #48
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When I was a teen, I didn't listen to anyone...
Hey, Culture, at least you're getting these questions from the high school kids and not from the high school teachers who are on the field trips you're chaperoning. I feel a bit weird when I'm teaching our kid's guidance counselor about saving for retirement, and now her chemistry teacher has started with the "What do you do all day?" questions.

What you're doing is going to work out OK. This kid may not be interested in learning from you right now and maybe not ever, but someday he'll recall his experiences with you and that will guide him in the right direction.

In the meantime you can assuage your conscience by handing out copies of "The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens". It has good advice (unlike the Fools' relentless merchandising of themselves on their website) and it's written with just the right amount of immortal teen attitude. Our 15-year-old has tremendously enjoyed it.

Another perennial teen favorite, although getting a bit old, is Marshall Brain's "A Teenager's Guide to the Real World".
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:18 PM   #49
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In the meantime you can assuage your conscience by handing out copies of "The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens". It has good advice (unlike the Fools' relentless merchandising of themselves on their website) and it's written with just the right amount of immortal teen attitude. Our 15-year-old has tremendously enjoyed it.
\\

Nords, thanks for the tip
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